The angels proclaim the fate of Babylon the great. She goes from pride of the world to total destruction in a flash!
If you are anything like me, or our bible authors, you have seen people do terrible things and get away with them. Not only that, some get rich on the backs of those they step on. NOT FAIR! We cry out to God. I can’t count all the Psalms that David cried out this same lament. But in each of these same Psalms David was reminded that this is a temporary state of affairs. The wicked do NOT prosper forever. There is retribution and justice ahead.
“Babylon the great” gets its just deserts in our reading today. The angel tells us that all her destruction happens “in a single day” (verse 8b). In another verse we are told that “in a single hour” (verse 10b) her judgement comes. I don’t know if these are man’s timelines or God’s, but suffice it to say, her end is swift and decisive!
We have already seen some of the great plagues that are in store for this city, the seat of power of the beast. There are sores, darkness, an earthquake, and hailstones on their way, just to name a few. And all of these events don’t turn her from evil but harden her heart even more against God.
Her final end comes in the form of fire. Those who used to become rich by her ways will watch from a distance. They will not only see her downfall but their own. Their source has been cut off permanently. There is NO rebuilding after this fire. No picking through the rubble for what can be salvaged. EVERYTHING is gone.
It is often hard to be patient on this side of evil’s judgement. So many wrongs seem to go unpunished. Human trafficking, abuse of every kind, murder, theft, and SO many other offenses against the helpless. I want to cry out for justice NOW!
Another “injustice” that results in us crying out “NOT FAIR” to God is when “bad things happen to good people.” This includes sickness, disease, death by natural disaster, or when any of the above happen to “good” or “innocent” individuals. These things don’t make sense to us. On many instances, when they do happen, people stop believing in God or blame Him. YES! He is in control. YES! He COULD stop all the bad things in the world. But then WE wouldn’t be FREE to worship Him and choose Him.
Man gave control over to Satan in the Garden of Eden. From that moment on, bad things have been happening to good people. Able didn’t do anything wrong to cause Cain to kill him. Satan acted in Cane’s heart in the form of jealousy. God could have struck Cain down right then and there, but that wasn’t what He did. Instead He protected him from retribution from others as he was still God’s child. But he also suffered the consequences of his actions. He was cut off from God. I wonder if Cain ever repented and took ownership for his own actions. We see him blame Able instead when he talks to God.
Evil doesn’t go unpunished forever! Satan does NOT win in the end, no matter how hard he tries or how sneaky he is. God wins!!! God’s final punishment on Babylon is just one example of His justice. There will be no innocent people killed in this judgement as God already called His people out from among them. “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” (verse 4b). All those who are left in her will “reap the benefits” of their actions. “Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed” (verse 6). Everyone within her walls receives exactly what they deserve. No claims of “I didn’t know,” “nothing personal, it’s just business” or “that’s not fair” will stand. “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). And He does.
As I used to tell my children ALL the time, “whoever told you life was fair LIED to you!” Life isn’t fair but God is just. Sometimes we don’t see that justice on this side of Heaven but we can be certain evil WILL be repaid. Hell is the ultimate repayment for evil. Hold fast to Him no matter what circumstances look like. God is just and He will settle the balance sheets in the end.
Father God, thank You that I can bring all my “it’s not fair” cries to You. Truthfully, I’m GLAD life isn’t immediately “fair” as I’ve been on the wrong side of good at times myself. There wouldn’t be a person left alive if You repaid evil immediately every time. Thank You for Your mercy!!! Thank You for Your patience too. Yes! Evil will be repaid. I have no doubt about that. In the meantime, I’m going to pray that those doing evil will open their eyes to the truth and STOP before it is too late.
Holy Spirit, thank You for speaking to my heart when I cross the lines. Thank You for bringing me back to the Father. Thank You Jesus that Your blood covers ALL my sins. I would be just as damned as Babylon the great without Your forgiveness. I pray for all those who will occupy the city that day. I would say, “May God have mercy on their souls” but they will have exhausted His mercy by then. What I will pray for is a quick death instead. I know their torment after death will be unending but at least I can pray they are spared a moment of torment before death.
Maybe that is one of the big differences between those who love God and those who don’t; the desire to eliminate or minimize another’s suffering. Reading about Jesus’ suffering breaks my heart! I would do anything I could to have spared You from that. I know it was necessary but it still hurts on SO many levels. Please don’t let me be inflicting more pain on You Jesus when I fail! I PRAY not!
Above all else though Lord, I leave it ALL in Your hands. You know what is just.